Today, a spokesman for “The Response,” a rally spearheaded by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, told American Family Radio that the event would be open to people of all faiths…but with the goal of encouraging non-Christians to “seek out the living Christ.”
“Response” spokesman Eric Bearse, a former director of communications for Perry, told American Family Radio: “A lot of people want to criticize what we’re doing, as if we’re somehow being exclusive of other faiths. But anyone who comes to this solemn assembly regardless of their faith tradition or background, will feel the love, grace, and warmth of Jesus Christ in that assembly hall, in that arena. And that’s what we want to convey, that there’s acceptance and that there’s love and that there’s hope if people will seek out the living Christ. And that’s the message we want to spread on August 6th.”
Gov. Perry has come under fire for using his official position to organize an exclusionary Christians-only event, and for organizing it with the American Family Association, a Religious Right group with a long history of disparaging gay people and Muslims.
Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, issued the following statement:
“Gov. Perry has every right to practice his own faith, but he has no right to use his official position to try to convert others. The governor has dubiously insisted that ‘The Response’ will be open to people of all faiths, but Bearse’s comments have put that claim to rest. Perry has teamed up with an unabashedly anti-gay, anti-Muslim organization to create an event aimed exclusively at Christians and with the goal of converting non-Christians. That behavior is inappropriate for any public official, much less one who is weighing a run for the presidency.
“Gov. Perry should drop his name from ‘The Response’ and reassure the citizens of his state that can and will be a governor for all Texans.”